Music campaigner and busker Jonny Walker has passed away aged 37.
The Leeds musician, who busked all over the UK, passed away suddenly this week after spending three days in the critical care unit at Leeds General Infirmary, though the cause of his death is unknown.
The news was confirmed by his family who issued a statement via Jonny’s official Facebook page.
‘It is with great sorrow but immense thankfulness for a passionately lived life, that after 3 days in the Critical Care Unit at Leeds General Infirmary, Jonny died peacefully, at 11:13am on Wednesday 14th March 2018, surrounded by family,’ it read.
‘During the coming days, his family ask that you allow them time to grieve. Details of opportunities to celebrate and remember Jonny’s life will follow in due time.’
Jonny became something of a viral sensation when he was filmed playing a duet with rough sleeper and fellow busker Bernard Davey, also known as Belfast Brian, on New Year’s Eve two years ago.
The pair were filmed singing Ella Fitzgerald’s Summertime outside the Trinity Centre in Leeds city centre.
Jonny was also the director of the Keep Streets Live! campaign, fighting for the rights of buskers and homeless people all over the country. He travelled around more than 50 towns and cities to perform, including Liverpool, York, Chester, Huddersfield and Whitby.
Thousands of tributes from fans as far afield as the USA and New Zealand have poured in on Jonny’s official Facebook page. Matt Davis commented: ‘Awful. What an utter tragedy. His kids go to the same nursery as mine. Always a smile on his face dropping them off. Would do anything for anyone.’
Ainsley Wills added: ‘Much as we disagreed on many things, I am devastated to hear about Jonny’s death. He was an awesome musician, a fighter of justice and an all-round decent chap that has left far too soon. My heart goes out to his family and friends and the musical community that knew him.’
Amanda Lawrence wrote: ‘So shocked and saddened by this tragic news. The Red Hat Ladies will miss you Jonny. You brought much joy into our lives. You also sang at my retirement party and my family send condolensces to yours. My young grandson loves your CD you gave him and is learning to play the piano now, playing some of your songs. Your music and memories live on. A wonderful, kind and talented man who will be greatly missed by so many.’
Following the multitude of kind messages left on Jonny’s Facebook page, the family issued another statement, adding: ‘As a family we would like to take a moment to thank you for the outpouring of love for Jonathan’s well lived life. Your many stories of his remarkable life are providing great comfort to us in our loss.
‘Jonathan gave hope and joy to so many and even in his death was able to change the lives of a number of people and their families through his registration as an organ donor.
‘We appreciate your understanding in our need for privacy during this painful time. With heartfelt gratitude to all who loved Jonny with us. Michele (Mum) John (Dad) Michael (Brother) Sarah (Sister).’
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